1664 - Eleven Africans petition for their freedom in the Dutch colony of New Netherlands in the first legal protest by Africans in colonial North America. Since they have served the time of their indentures, they are granted their freedom.
1839 - Seminoles and their Black allies shipped from Tampa Bay, Florida, to the West.
1870 - Hiram R. Revels, R-Miss., became the first black member of the United States Senate as he was sworn in to serve out the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis.
1881 - James Garfield Beck born
1895 - George Samuel Schuyler, author of Black No More, born
1896 - Ida Cox born
1903 - Albany State University founded
1910 - 13th Dali Lama fled Tibet
1928 - Archibald J. Motley, Jr.'s one man show opens NYT headline read:"One-Man Show of Art by Negro, First of Kind Here, Opens Today"
1928 - A. L. Higgingbotham born
1935 - Jesse Owens sets a new world record at Madison Square Garden: 60 meters in 6.5 seconds.
1948 - Martin Luther King, Jr. was ordained as a Baptist minister.
1963 - Vee Jay Records, the small Chicago-basaed label, releases the first Beatles record in the U.S., "Please Please Me" backed with "Ask Me Why."
1964 - Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) became heavyweight-boxing champion in an upset victory over Sonny Liston.
1971 - President Nixon met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and appointed a White House panel to study a list of recommendations made by the group.
1975 - Elijah Muhammad died
1978 - Gen. Daniel ("Chappie") James, Jr. , ret. died
1980 - Robert E. Hayden, the first African American poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, died
1987 - US Supreme Court upholds (5-4) affirmative action
1991 - Adrienne Mitchell became first African American woman to die in combat in the Persian Gulf War
1992 - James Brown received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
1998 - Bo Diddley received Lifetime Achievement Grammy awards.
1999 - John King, one of three white men accused of chaining James Byrd to a pickup and dragging him along a Texas road until he was decapitated, was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
2000 - A jury in Albany, New York, acquitted four white New York City police officers of all charges in the shooting death of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo.